Biography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 25, 1941, the oldest child and only daughter of Lloyd Parry Tyler, a chemist, and Phyllis Mahon Tyler, a social worker, who later became the parents of three boys. During Anne’s childhood, the family moved frequently, living in Quaker communes at various locations in the Midwest and the South and finally settling for five years in the mountains of North Carolina. As the oldest child and only girl in a large, active family, Anne Tyler recognized the feminine capacity for leadership, which is emphasized in many of her novels.
Furthermore, both within the family and within the larger context of the commune, she became aware of the tension between two human needs—one for privacy, solitude, and personal freedom, the other for membership in a group, as a defense against indecision and loneliness. By nature, though warm and sympathetic, Tyler has defined herself as an extremely private person. During childhood, she became aware of the difficulties encountered by people such as herself when groups of which they are members demand their full allegiance.
After graduating at sixteen from a secondary school in Raleigh, Tyler entered Duke University, majoring in Russian. When she picked up the enrollment card for her freshman composition class, she became the first student of a new English...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Although Tyler’s plots may seem as circular as life itself, with her characters often moving back to the places from which they came, the characters are changed by the events through which they have moved. Tyler’s great gift lies in the creation and sympathetic treatment of these characters, who in their interactions produce scenes of comedy and even of farce.
Tyler’s characters and their actions may seem extreme, but the theme that they illustrate rings true. Every human being must try to harmonize such opposites as individuality and conformity, emotion and reason, and energy and restraint. Some of Tyler’s novels suggest that such reconciliation is almost impossible; others indicate that the possibility exists, that energy and love can do what reason can never accomplish.
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Biography (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
When Anne Tyler was seven, her parents moved to Celo, a Quaker commune in North Carolina, to raise their family in a quiet, isolated environment. Anne and her two brothers were schooled at home. Tyler became an avid reader, and her favorite book was The Little House (1942) by Virginia Lee Burton. Unable to support the family adequately at Celo, Tyler’s parents moved to Raleigh in 1952, where her father worked as a research chemist, and her mother became a social worker. The Tylers were activists in the Civil Rights movement, opposed the death penalty, and, as Quaker pacifists, opposed U.S. involvement in war. With this background, it is surprising that Tyler’s writing reveals no political or social ideology, other than her portrayal of the family as a basic unit in society.
Tyler attended high school in Raleigh, where Mrs. Peacock, her English teacher, taught literature with a dramatic flair and inspired Anne’s desire to become a writer. At sixteen, she entered Duke University on scholarship, majoring in Russian studies and literature, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1961. At Duke, Professors Reynolds Price and William Blackburn recognized her talent. Eudora Welty’s conversational dialogue, southern settings, and gentle satire also influenced Tyler.
Tyler attended Columbia University but did not finish her master’s degree. While working in the library at Duke University, she met Taghi Modarressi, an Iranian medical student,...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on October 25, 1941, to Phyllis Mahon Tyler, a social worker, and Lloyd Parry Tyler, an industrial chemist. She was the eldest of four children, the only girl. Both of her parents were Quakers dedicated to finding an ideal community, a quest that produced the theme of frustrated idealism in Tyler’s fiction. As a consequence of her parents’ idealism, Tyler spent most of her early years, from infancy until age eleven, in various rural Quaker communes scattered throughout the midwestern and southern United States. When she was six, the family settled in Celo, North Carolina—a large, isolated, valley commune virtually independent of the outside world and unquestionably the setting for Tyler’s short story “Outside,” which appeared in the Southern Review in 1971.
Tyler later wrote of the impact of her early years on her fiction. Unable to sleep at night and needing to amuse herself, she began telling herself stories at age three. Furthermore, her isolation in the rural communes in which she lived as a child contributed to the themes of isolation and community dominant in her novels. Growing up in North Carolina, where she spent summers tying tobacco, Tyler listened carefully to the stories of the tobacco handlers and tenant farmers. Later, she was able to capture the cadences of everyday speech in her fiction, realizing that the stories these workers told could form the basis for literature....
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Biography (The Sixties in America)
From the age of six, Anne Tyler experienced a southern childhood: first at Celo, a wilderness community in the mountains of North Carolina, where her mother and father, Phyllis and Lloyd Tyler, joined a Quaker community; then in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she attended high school and discovered in the works of Eudora Welty that a writer may create literature from the ordinary things in life. At Duke University, she majored in Russian and studied creative writing with author Reynolds Price. She published short stories in the Archive, Duke’s literary magazine, and twice received the Anne Flexner Award for creative writing. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Tyler pursued graduate studies at Columbia University.
Tyler returned to Duke in the early 1960’s to work as a Russian bibliographer in the university library. She published short fiction in popular magazines such as Seventeen, Mademoiselle, and McCall’s and in more sophisticated periodicals, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Southern Review. She won a Mademoisellemagazine award for writing in 1966, and in 1969, one of her stories appeared in Prize Stories 1969: The O. Henry Awards.
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Although Anne Tyler’s books have always been popular with general readers, acclaim from critics came more slowly. With Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, however, Tyler’s position in American literature was firmly established. In addition to her many short stories and novels, Tyler is much in demand as a book reviewer. She has achieved her greatest success and recognition as a witty yet serious and compassionate observer of human nature, with a polished style, a strong sense of irony, and an uncanny ability to create memorable characters and to reproduce their speech as if she had actually heard it.
Tyler is the only daughter of Lloyd Parry and Phyllis (Mahon) Tyler; there were also four boys in the family, a circumstance that appears in reverse in Tyler’s first novel, If Morning Ever Comes, in which the main character is an only son with six sisters. Tyler denies that her novels are autobiographical. Although she was reared in North Carolina, she does not consider herself a southern writer, despite the repeated statement to that effect on the jackets of most of her books. Nor does she consider herself a feminist writer; she is more interested in people than in movements.
Tyler graduated from Duke University in 1961, having begun college at the age of sixteen. A course on the short story taught by the writer Reynolds Price...
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IntroductionUntil the cows came home…Anne Tyler was in charge! Tyler’s parents valued a rural lifestyle and settled in the hills of North Carolina in a somewhat communal settlement. The principal of the local school often had to go home in the afternoons to feed his cows, and he would leave Tyler in charge of the school during his absence. Often humorous and always smart, her stories were influenced by these early Southern memories and by Eudora Welty’s writing despite the fact that many of Tyler’s own books are set in Baltimore, Maryland, where she now resides. She is most famous for writing The Accidental Tourist, which was made into a film in 1988, and Breathing Lessons, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989.
- Tyler graduated from Duke University at the age of 19. Later, she was a bibliographer at Duke and worked in the law library at McGill University.
- Tyler did graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University before becoming a full-time author.
- Tyler loves the rewriting process and often rewrites her novels in longhand.
- Tyler’s newest novel, Digging to America, was inspired by her witnessing a family adopting a new baby at the airport. It’s also taken from her experience with her late-husband’s Iranian family.
- Critics have been hard on Tyler because of her tendency to mix comedy and drama, but she is, at this point, considered one of America’s most influential authors.
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At fourteen, Tyler discovered a writer who would have a significant impact on her own literary career. While reading Eudora Welty's short story "The Wide Net," Tyler noted that one of the characters reminded her of someone she knew. Previously, Tyler had questioned her desire to become a writer because she thought that to write well one needed to have extraordinary experiences; she thought that her life was too dull. Welty taught her that good literature can also be about ordinary people and events.
Tyler was born on October 25, 1941, to a chemist and a social worker in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She moved frequently with her father, a chemist, and her mother, a social worker, settling at different times in Pennsylvania, Chicago, Duluth, and Raleigh, North Carolina. At one point the family moved to Celo, a commune in the mountains of North Carolina. Tyler has admitted that her writing career began at age three when she used to make up stories to help herself fall asleep at night. By seven, she had written in a notebook her first book, illustrated with drawings. While growing up she toyed with the idea of becoming an artist, but she eventually decided she was a better writer.
At sixteen, Tyler entered Duke University and, three years later, earned her undergraduate degree in Russian language and literature. While at Duke, she had short stories published in the school's literary magazine and won two awards for creative writing. She completed course...
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Anne Tyler was born on October 25, 1941, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her father, Lloyd Parry Tyler, a chemist, and mother, Mahon Tyler, a social worker, were committed Quakers and social activists. They raised Tyler and her three younger brothers in several Utopian communities throughout the United States, settling in the Celo Community in the mountains of North Carolina for five of Tyler’s formative years. Robert W. Croft, in his book An Anne Tyler Companion, writes about Tyler’s life at Celo, where Tyler was perceived as an outsider, a role she claims helped her learn to use her imagination. A voracious reader, Tyler often read favorite books twenty and thirty times. She and her brothers were primarily home schooled, which placed Tyler ahead of most students her age and allowed her to enter Duke University at the age of sixteen. At Duke, she majored in Russian. After graduating, she moved to New York to pursue a master’s degree in Russian at Columbia University. Though she finished all the required coursework, she never completed her thesis. Instead, Tyler returned to North Carolina and worked as a Russian bibliographer in the Duke University Library. She met Taghi Modarressi, an Iranian psychiatrist and writer, and married him in 1963. Shortly after their wedding, the newlyweds moved to Montreal, Canada, where Modarressi completed his medical residency.
While in Montreal, Tyler’s writing life began to take shape. She completed the...
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On October, 25, 1941, Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her parents were members of the Society of Friends and liberal activists, and the family lived in a series of Quaker communes across the Midwest and South of the United States. Anne read voraciously as a child and began write stories at the age of seven. When she was eleven, the family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where she attended public school for the first time. The alienation she experienced at that time became a recurring theme in her writing.
Tyler attended Duke University on academic scholarship. During her time there, she studied creative writing and Russian. Although she wrote simply for '"something to do," she received the Anne Flexner award for creative writing twice. Her short stories were published throughout her college years. At nineteen, Tyler graduated from Duke after three years, with a B.A. in Russian.
In 1961, after a year of graduate studies at Columbia University, Tyler returned to Duke. There, she worked as a Russian language bibliographer until 1963. She married and moved to Montreal, Quebec, where her husband studied medicine. While there, she worked as an assistant librarian and wrote her first and second novels. Morning Ever Comes (1964) and The Tin Can Tree (1965).
In 1967 Tyler and her family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Once the girls were in school, Tyler began writing full time. In 1970 she published A...
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Anne Tyler was born on October 25, 1941, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to chemist Lloyd Parry Tyler and social worker Phyllis Mahon Tyler. The daughter of Quakers, hers was a somewhat nomadic childhood, living in such places as Chicago; Duluth, Minnesota; and Cleo, North Carolina (in which her family lived in an experimental collective community in the mountains). When Anne was eleven, her family settled in Raleigh, North Carolina. Adapting to this relatively cosmopolitan environment did not come easily, since up until that time, the young girl was unfamiliar with such conveniences as the telephone. Tyler ultimately adjusted, sometimes doing field work on tobacco plantations and observing the quirks and dialects of her coworkers. In high school, she planned to become a book illustrator. Phyllis Peacock, one of her English teachers, also instructed Reynolds Price, who became a successful novelist and a friend of Tyler's.
Attending Duke University on full scholarship, Tyler took a writing course taught by Reynolds Price and majored in Russian. In 1961, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. and briefly pursued graduate work at Columbia University. From 1962 to 1963, Tyler worked as a Russian bibliographer at Duke University; in May, 1963, she married the Iranian medical student and novelist Taghi Mohammed Modaressi. While her husband completed his residency at McGill University in Montreal, Tyler took a job as the assistant to the librarian of McGill's Law Library.
In Montreal, Tyler wrote her first two novels, If Morning Ever Comes (1964) and The Tin Can Tree (1965), neither of which received much critical attention. However, the critics who took notice praised the author's maturity and anticipated her future success. By the time Tyler had published her fifth novel, Celestial Navigation (1974), critics such as Gail Godwin and John Updike agreed she was a literary force to be reckoned with. With the publication of Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982), her place as one of the best and most significant American novelists of her generation seemed secure. In addition to several novels, more than fifty of Anne Tyler's short stories have been published to date.
Along the way, Tyler has received countless literary awards, including the Mademoiselle award for writing (1966); Award for Literature, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, (1977); Janet Heidinger Kafka prize (1981), PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (1983), and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1989). With the latter award and the 1990 motion picture The Accidental Tourist—based on Tyler's novel of the same name—some of the writer's popularity has spread into the American mainstream.
While not an easy author to categorize, Tyler has often been described as a Southern writer, setting her early novels in the South, and is frequently compared to William Faulkner and Eudora Welty. In spite of her great productivity, she remains something of an enigma: an extremely private person who grants few interviews and shuns most public appearances.